Winter is here, and so is flu season. This has been a particularly difficult year for the flu. If your family has been hit by the flu this year, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have canine family members, you shouldn't overlook them either. You might not realize this, but the canine flu has also been particularly bad this year. Most of the symptoms are similar to those of the human flu, sneezing, coughing, and runny nose. Now that canine flu season is here, here are four steps you can take to protect your furry family members.
Vaccinate Your Dogs Early
If your dogs haven't started showing signs of sickness yet, it's time to head to the vet for a flu shot. Canine flu vaccinations are available, but they do take a while to reach effectiveness. Once the vaccinations have been administered, and they've reached peak effectiveness, your dogs will be protected against the flu this season.
Provide Fresh Food and Water
If your dogs are already showing signs of the flu, or they contract the illness before the vaccinations have a chance to become effective, you'll need to act quickly to treat the symptoms. The most important thing you can do is continue to provide your dogs with fresh food and water. They may not feel like eating, but malnutrition and dehydration can make the illness much worse. If your dogs refuse to drink water, you should use a small medicine syringe to get small amounts of water into them throughout the day.
Make Sure They Get Plenty of Rest
Like humans, your dogs are going to need plenty of rest while they fight the flu. To make sure your dogs are comfortable, and that they're able to get the rest they need, try to create a sick-room atmosphere for them. Place their beds in a quiet area of the house, and give them some soft blankets to cuddle up with. If your dogs are suffering from runny noses, or congestion, place a cool mist humidifier in the room with them.
Watch for Warning Signs
In most cases, the flu will pass through your dogs in a couple of days. However, in rare instances, canine flu can develop into pneumonia. To ensure that your dogs get the emergency care they'll need, it's important that you watch for the warning signs. If your dogs develop uncontrollable coughing, have a difficult time breathing, become lethargic, or refuse to eat or drink, you need to get them to the veterinarian immediately.
For more information about canine flu, talk to a vet at facilities like Baywood Animal Hospital.